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Fresh Water, Foul Sewage

The Dripby Mark Reutter7:30 amMay 9, 20240

Baltimore City and County residents will pay more for water beginning in July

Sharing the same water system, the two jurisdictions calculate and charge utility fees in starkly different ways

Above: Baltimore’s drinking water is no longer a cheap commodity to many.

The price of water is going up for both city and county residents starting July 1.

While the city and county share the same drinking water and sewer system, the ways in which utility rates are calculated and administered by each jurisdiction differ widely.

Percentage-wise, water rates will increase by 3% in the city and average 4.9% in the county for fiscal 2025.

While statistically higher, overall utility rates are considered to be lower in the county because the city attaches a higher price for sewage.

The city’s sewer fee will go up by 3.5% on July 1, according to a fixed schedule that was approved by the Board of Estimates in 2022.

Next Wednesday, the BOE will formally approve new water rates for county residents.

Separate Sewer Charge

For an average family of four living in the county, the increase will amount to about $18 more a year based on prior calculations by the Department of Public Works and Transportation.

The county separately charges for sewage, which is billed annually to homeowners on their July 1 property tax bill.

By contrast, city users are billed for all utility services in a single bill issued monthly.

A “typical household” currently pays $130.21 a month for water, sewage, stormwater and an infrastructure fee, according to the city Department of Public Works.

That charge will  increase by about $4.25 a month, or $51 more a year, in fiscal 2025.

City households whose income is below 200% of the federal poverty level may be legible for a Water4All discount administered by DPW.

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